BIM-Based Tunnel Information Modeling Framework for Visualization, Management, and Simulation of Drill-and-Blast Tunneling Projects

Abubakar Sharafat, Muhammad Shoaib Khan, Kamran Latif, Jongwon Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Tunnel construction fundamentally differs from building and aboveground civil infrastructure projects. Drill-and-blast is one of the most common and flexible tunnel construction methods. However, it is complex and challenging because a large amount of data is generated from dispersed, independent, and heterogeneous sources. The tunneling industry still uses traditional project management techniques to manage complex interactions between these data sources that are hardly linked, and independent decisions are often made without considering all the relevant aspects. In this context, tunnel construction exhibits uncertainties and risks due to unforeseen circumstances, intricate design, and ineffective information management. Building information modeling (BIM) in the construction industry provides a solution to such issues with effective data information modeling. Existing research has considered a very general BIM semantic model and focused only a small portion of the entire drill-and-blast construction process. Tunnel boring machine (TBM) projects have successfully applied linked data models and multimodel concepts in BIM, but those technologies have yet to be adopted in drill-and-blast tunneling. To address that gap, a novel BIM-based multimodel tunnel information modeling (TIM) framework is presented here to improve project management, construction, and delivery by integrating five interlinked data models and project performance data for drill-and-blast tunnel construction. Data models of tunnel construction processes are linked to propose the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)-Tunnel classes based on the objects, relationships, and property set definitions of the IFC schema. To validate the proposed framework, an implementation case study of a hydropower tunneling project is presented. The results indicate that the framework facilitates data sharing, information integration, data accessibility, design optimization, project communication, efficient project management, and visualization of tunnel design and construction processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04020068
JournalJournal of Computing in Civil Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021 Mar 1


  • Building information modeling (BIM)
  • Collaborative management
  • Drill-and-blast tunneling
  • Industry foundation class
  • Linked data
  • Multimodeling
  • Tunnel information modeling


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